Gram-negative porcine pathogens from the Pasteurellaceae family possess a surface receptor complex capable of acquiring iron from porcine transferrin (pTf). This receptor consists of transferrin-binding protein A (TbpA), a transmembrane iron transporter, and TbpB, a surface-exposed lipoprotein. Questions remain as to how the receptor complex engages pTf in such a way that iron is positioned for release, and whether divergent strains present distinct recognition sites on Tf. In this study, the TbpB-pTf interface was mapped using a combination of mass shift analysis and molecular docking simulations, localizing binding uniquely to the pTf C lobe for multiple divergent strains of Actinobacillus plueropneumoniae and suis. The interface was further characterized and validated with site-directed mutagenesis. Although targeting a common lobe, variants differ in preference for the two sublobes comprising the iron coordination site. Sublobes C1 and C2 participate in high affinity binding, but sublobe C1 contributes in a minor fashion to the overall affinity. Further, the TbpB-pTf complex does not release iron independent of other mediators, based on competitive iron binding studies. Together, our findings support a model whereby TbpB efficiently captures and presents iron-loaded pTf to other elements of the uptake pathway, even under low iron conditions
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